9 Python

9.1 Introduction

Python scripting is one of the most powerful features of TouchDesigner 088. It is capable of doing incredibly complex operations, like iterating through large data sets, natively communicating with a myriad web APIs, controlling and changing the parameters of other Operators in extremely rapid succession, and much more.

It is important to note that, as of writing, TouchDesigner 088 uses Python 3.3.1. Python 3 differs from Python 2.7 in a number of ways, but most issues can be resolved with a quick Google search. Most questions have probably already been asked, and the solution could be as simple as a set of parentheses.

For example, in Python 2.7, the Print function could be used without parentheses, where in Python 3, this will raise an error. Below is an example of how many Python 2.7 courses use the Print function:

print 'text'

This is in contrast to how the Print function is used in Python 3, where the parentheses are required:

print ('text')

An incredible feature of Python, aside from it's readability, is that there are many external libraries, many of which can natively connect to most of the webs most active spaces, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, etc. These kind of native integrations unlock a world of real-time data driven projects, as well as incredible real-time data sets for visualizations and client presentations.

There will be quite a bit of Python scripting in later examples, and although it is not mandatory to do so, it is highly recommended that some time be spent learning Python through introductory tutorials. There are many fantastic resources for learning Python, some of them gamified, and most of them often quite easy to pick up and put down. Often times, 10-15 minutes a day of tutorials, over the course of a few weeks, can provide a strong fundamental knowledge of Python, and more than enough knowledge to do quite a bit of scripting in TouchDesigner.

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